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Owaisi draws govt’s attention to currency ink, silver thread, says Pakistan has same supplier

Hyderabad: AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Tuesday claimed that the supplier of ink and silver threads used in currency notes is the same for India and Pakistan and sought to know what was government’s strategy to deal with it.

AIMIM's head Asaduddin Owaisi. AFPAIMIM's head Asaduddin Owaisi. AFP

AIMIM’s head Asaduddin Owaisi. AFP

“The ink and silver thread supplier is supplying the same thing to Pakistan as well. So, what is the government going to do about it ? (to end counterfeit menace),” the Hyderabad Lok Sabha member asked while talking to PTI in Lucknow.

Maintaining that the demonetisation move has caused “immense problems to everyone”, Owaisi said the government
should give ample time — at least a couple of months — for people to exchange old notes. He said if anyone deposits huge amount of money, it can certainly be tracked.

He said ample time was given to the people when there such a move (demonetisation) in the Philippines, as also in Europe when Euro was introduced. “This (giving ample time for people) has been the norm in various countries”.

Owaisi said he would give a notice for an adjournment motion in Lok Sabha, where winter session commences on, to discuss the demonetisation move which, he said, has put farmers, rural and urban economies in distress.

People are finding huge difficulty in usage of newly introduced Rs 2,000 note because “no one has change”, he

“Eighty-six percent of our currencies are in the form of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. You (government) have not planned for it, you have not prepared for it. Re-calibration (of ATM machines) would take more than 100 days. The worst part is: my money is in the bank but I cannot take it out,” he said.

First Published On : Nov 15, 2016 17:48 IST

Ink thrown at Manish Sisodia: Delhi court reserves order on bail plea of accused

New Delhi: A Delhi court on Wednesday reserved its order on the bail plea of a man, who had allegedly thrown ink at Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia outside the Lieutenant Governor’s office.

Manish Sisodia wiping ink from his face. PTI

Manish Sisodia wiping ink from his face. PTI

Metropolitan Magistrate Ambika Singh kept the matter for 23 September for pronouncing order on the bail application of 42-year-old Brijesh Shukla after hearing arguments of his counsel and the police. The court also extended Shukla’s judicial custody till 23 September.

During arguments, police opposed the bail plea saying he was also involved in other criminal cases, as Shukla’s counsel claimed that those cases have already been quashed by the Delhi High Court. Advocate Rajesh Kumar, representing Shukla, said his client’s custody was no more required as the investigation of police was almost complete and recovery has also been made.

He also argued that Sisodia was not a complainant in the case and it should not be made a political matter. The accused claimed in the bail plea that the allegations against him were “false and fabricated” and he had not created any hurdle for public servant in performing duty.

Shukla, a resident of Karawal Nagar in Northeast Delhi, was  remanded to a day’s police custody. He was arrested on 19 September for allegedly throwing ink at Sisodia, saying he was angry with the Deputy CM’s Finland tour at a time when the city was grappling with a health crisis.

Shukla has been booked under sections 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) and 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) of the IPC.

Shukla been engaged in protests against the AAP government over various issues and has also filed a complaint in court against Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and AIMIM President Asaduddin Owaisi.

The Radicalisation Series: Analysing the threat to Muslim youths in India

The issue of the radicalisation of Indian Muslims is one that has been gaining momentum for a while now. While some continue to swim in the ‘this only happens in other country’ sea of denial, others are beginning to grasp the gravity of the situation and suggesting ways to counter it. In an exclusive four-part series on radicalisation in India, Tufail Ahmad examines a variety of conditions and scenarios that have made it possible to radicalise youths in Maharashtra, Hyderabad, Kerala and indeed, India as a whole. The first part of the series follows:

From early 2014 through this year, the radicalisation of Indian Muslims in favour of the Islamic State (or IS) has not ceased, although intelligence agencies have succeeded in preventing dozens of youths from leaving India to join the jihadi group. A review of media reports over the past three years indicates that the number of affected youths — ie those who left for Syria, others who were stopped from leaving India and counselled, and those under surveillance — is around 350. This figure is on the lower side, but does not take into account the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

Radicalisation is the process of directly and indirectly motivating Muslims to participate in jihadi terror, based on religious teachings and grievance-nurturing by Islamic preachers, the Urdu press and other Islamic media. Radicalisation has always existed in India leading to bomb blasts on many occasions, but that it could pose a serious challenge to the security of India was realised first in mid-2014 when four youths left Mumbai for Iraq and Syria — one of them, Areeb Majeed, returned later from Turkey, where he had ended up for medical treatment after being wounded in Syria.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

From then till now, around a dozen states have witnessed incidents of radicalisation including Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Assam, Punjab (for pro-Khalistan radicalisation), Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. In the run-up to Republic Day this year, at least 14 suspects were arrested. In June, five youths were arrested in Hyderabad, leading to two more arrests in July. Around two dozen youths, who were known to each other, left Kerala in early July for Syria. In the Aurangabad district of Maharashtra, four youths were arrested in July. The argument here is this: Radicalisation in India has not ceased since 2014, leaving no room for complacency.

Political correctness forces analysts not to see the ideological nature of the jihadi terror. A usual shortcut is to blame the internet for radicalisation. This is contrary to evidence. In the 20th Century when there was no internet, the streets of Lahore looked much like the streets of Paris today. In December 1926, Swami Shraddhanand was killed by Abdur Rasheed, perhaps the first lone-wolf jihadi, for publishing Satyarth Prakash, a book critical of Prophet Muhammad. In 1929, Rajpal of the Rajpal Publisher of Lahore, was killed, much like the editors of Charlie Hebdo magazine and exactly for the same theological reason, by Ghazi Ilmuddin for publishing the book. The Islamist poet Muhammad Iqbal praised him. Hyderabadi leader Asaduddin Owaisi is not the first Muslim leader to offer legal aid to IS suspects. Ilmuddin’s case was defended in court by MA Jinnah.

In modern times, Sufism, supported by the Barelvi school of Sunni Islam, is presented as peaceful. In 1936, Murid Hussain, a Sufi from Chakwal in the present-day Pakistan, went on to kill Dr Ram Gopal after he was visited by Prophet Muhammad in dream. The alleged reason for killing was that an animal was named by Gopal after the prophet. Major Nidal Hasan, who shot dead his colleagues at Fort Hood in Texas in 2009, is not the first Muslim soldier to be radicalised. In 1937, Miyan Muhammad of the Indian Army shot dead a Hindu soldier in Karachi. In 1942, Babu Merajuddin killed his Sikh officer Major Hardyal Singh allegedly for questioning the sacrifice of animals on Eid-al-Azha, the feast of sacrifice. Guantanamo Bay is also not the first offshore prison for jihadis. Lone-wolf attackers were sent by British officers to Andaman Islands.

While the Mumbai’s four had left India before Abu Bakr Al-Baghadi declared himself on June 30, 2014 as the caliph of all Muslims, soon his call for all Muslims to perform Hijrah (migration) to the IS in the Iraq-Syria region caught the imagination of youths. Hijrah marks the migration of Prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Medina where a large number of people had converted to Islam. It has special connotation in the minds of Muslims. In India, the pattern of Hijrah over the past three years showed two trends: One, Indian Muslim youths based in London, Qatar, the UAE, Afghanista-Pakistan region, Singapore and Australia travelled directly to Syria to join the ISIS; two, some youths left directly from India for Afghanistan, Iran and some West Asian capitals to join the IS or were prevented from boarding flights at Nagpur and Hyderabad, or stopped in Kolkata.

In July 2015, a note prepared by the Home Ministry noted: “As per available intelligence inputs, very few number of Indian youth(s) have joined ISIS after travelling to Iraq and Syria. Further, intelligence/security agencies have foiled the plan of some youth(s) to travel to Iraq/Syria who are under counselling and monitoring at present. A certain number of IS sympathisers are also under surveillance by security agencies.”

A report dated 28 September, 2015, published by the Centre for Land Warfare Studies, put the number of those under surveillance at 250. As of last July, it appears that the number of Muslim youths arrested over the past three years in different states of India for pro-IS radicalisation is at least 60. Reports in the press indicate that at least 30 Muslims from India could be present in Syria with IS and there are some Indians based in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. While the fundamental reasons for radicalisation and justifications for jihad are rooted in Islamic teachings, glorification of Islamic history and grievance mongering, one must bear in mind that the jihadi threat to India emanates also from the rise of jihadi movements in West Asia and the inability of the big powers to stabilise the situation.

Unless that happens, security agencies in India will need to remain alert.


Stay tuned for the next three parts of the series:

Part Two: Radicalisation of Muslim youths in Maharashtra
Part Three: Radicalisation of Muslim youths in Hyderabad
Part Four: Radicalisation of Muslim youths in Kerala

Tufail Ahmad is a former BBC journalist and the Executive Director of the Open Source Institute, New Delhi. He tweets @tufailelif

BJP alone can fight the ‘communal, divisive politics’ of MIM in Telangana, says state BJP chief

Hyderabad: BJP alone can take on the “communal” MIM, and other parties in Telangana unlike the ruling TRS, Congress and TDP, state BJP president K Laxman has said.

“BJP alone can fight MIM. TRS, Congress, other parties, whenever they are in power, they share it with MIM. People of Telangana know well that BJP alone can fight this communal, divisive politics of MIM which TRS cannot do, neither Congress
nor TDP,” he said.

He said MIM was against the formation of the state and now TRS calls the party its natural ally. “Now, TRS is very close to Majlis (MIM). They say it (MIM) is our natural ally. People of Telangana are surprised. It is an anti-Telangana party. It fought against the formation of Telangana. It stood as a stumbling block for the creation of Telangana.

“I don’t know what made Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao come closer to MIM Chief Asaduddin Owaisi and his party. Is it vote bank politics or for development of Telangana. People can understand,” he told PTI.

Owaisi used to say the car (TRS election symbol) belonged to TRS but its steering is in his hands, Laxman claimed. Laxman dismissed the speculation of BJP and TRS coming close with the latter possibly joining the NDA government at the Centre.

Claiming that the main opposition Congress and TDP have weakened in Telangana following defection of several MLAs to TRS, Laxman said BJP would like to emerge as a viable alternative to TRS.

He accused the TRS government of failing to deliver on its election promises, which included a two-bedroom house for poor, filling up one lakh government jobs and distributing three acres of land to poor.

Noting that the slogan of BJP is ‘sab ka sath, sab ka vikas’, Laxman said his party would like to take along all sections including minorities. It is only the BJP which nominated two minority leaders (Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and MJ Akbar) to the Rajya Sabha in the recent polls to the upper house, he added.

Ramdev Baba booked by Hyderabad police after ‘Bharat Mata ki jai’ remark

Hyderabad: Yoga guru Ramdev Baba, who had said that he would have beheaded lakhs of people for not chanting ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ slogan, was booked by the Hyderabad police on Wednesday.

A case was registered on a complaint by Mohd Bin Omer, a medical college student and an activist of city-based Darsgah Jihad-O-Shahadat under section 295 A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings) of the IPC on Wednesday, a senior police officer said.

Ramdev Baba. File photo. APRamdev Baba. File photo. AP

Ramdev Baba. File photo. AP

Omer said in the complaint that he had seen a video clip on YouTube where Ramdev threatens members of a particular community, Assistant Commissioner of Police M Srinivasa Rao said.

“We are investigating the matter further,” Rao said.

Ramdev had recently said he respects the law of the land and the Constitution, otherwise he would have “beheaded” lakhs of people for refusing to say ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’.

Hyderabad-based MIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi had earlier said he would not say the slogan.

‘Freedom of speech doesn’t apply to Ramdev?’: Amit Shah defends yoga guru on ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ row

The row over the slogan ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai‘, which was sparked off when Asaduddin Owaisi dramatically refused to say it, has escalated quite dramatically over the past couple of weeks.

Yoga guru Baba Ramdev on Sunday said he respects the law of the land and the Constitution, otherwise he would have “beheaded” lakhs of people for refusing to chant ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai‘.

A file photo of Amit Shah. ReutersA file photo of Amit Shah. Reuters

A file photo of Amit Shah. Reuters

Many, including Congerss and AAP, had slammed Ramdev over his comments, but now the yoga guru seems to have found support and that too from none other than BJP president Amit Shah.

“Baba Ramdev is not a member of the BJP. However, I want to know from those who talk of free speech, does it not apply to Baba Ramdev?” Shah asked in an interview to a private TV channel, reports The Hindu.

This statement came after Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu appeared to disapprove of the remarks made by Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Ramdev on those refusing to chant ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai‘ and said they are views not authorised by the government through any order.

Ramdev had earlier said at a Sadbhavna (compassion) rally, “Koi aadmi topi pehan kar ke khada ho jaata hai, bolta Bharat Mata ki Jai nahi bolunga, chahe meri gardan kaat do. Arey is desh mein kanoon hai, nahi toh teri ek ki kya, hum toh lakhon ki gardan kaat sakte hain. (Someone wearing a cap stands up and says that he won’t chant Bharat Mata Ki Jai even if someone kills him. There is a law in this country, otherwise I would’ve beheaded lakhs of people.)”

With inputs from PTI

‘Bharat mata ki jai’ slogan row: What is wrong in worshipping mother, asks Venkaiah Naidu

Hyderabad: In a dig at AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi for his refusal to raise the ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ slogan, Union minister and senior BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday asked what is wrong in worshipping mother.

Venkaiah Naidu. IBNLive

Venkaiah Naidu. IBNLive

“It has become a fashion now to make an extreme meaning of everything and mocking at it. I won’t say ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ even if my life is taken out. Before he reached gallows, (freedom fighter) Bhagat Singh said ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’,” Naidu said at an event in Hyderabad.

Naidu, who did not name Owaisi, said, “During the freedom movement, ‘Vande Mataram’ united all Indians. It means ‘Mata’ (mother), salutation to you. What ‘Mata’? not Christian ‘Mata’, Hindu ‘Mata’, ‘Muslim ‘Mata’, forward ‘Mata’, backward ‘Mata’. ‘Mata’ is ‘Mata’. What is the objection in that. Why, (it is said that) there is worship in that. Which religion said not to worship mother. Let me know. I am trying to know. I am ready for a debate”.

Alleging that such comments are made for vote-bank politics, Naidu asked if “he” (Owaisi) is the only leader of Muslims”.

“Did Muslims say ‘Bharat Mata’ is not needed,” he said, adding that religion is personal.

‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ does not mean worshipping the image of ‘Bharat Mata’ but having such a feeling inside, the Union Urban Development Minister added.

According to him, ‘Bharat Mata’ encompassed all Indians.

In a veiled attack on Congress, Naidu added “those who looted the country” express solidarity with those seeking “azadi” from corruption.

On the assertions of freedom of speech made in various quarters, the Minister said one’s freedom of speech should not inconvenience others.

The freedom of speech should not lead to social disharmony or law and order problems and that it should be within parameters of the Constitution, he said.

Earlier this month, amid the charged debate over patriotism, Owaisi had ruffled some political feathers saying he won’t chant ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ “even if you put knife to my throat”.


Amit Shah weighs in on ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ row, says 99 percent people will agree to chant slogan

New Delhi: Signalling a tough line on the issue of chanting ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ despite controversies, BJP chief Amit Shah on Thursday said 99 percent people were agreeable to hailing ‘Mother India’ with the slogan and the party would “convince” the rest.

Speaking at the India Today Conclave in New Delhi, Shah justified the government’s action on the JNU row, insisting that some people deciding to hold a programme to commemorate Afzal Guru’s death anniversary in itself is “anti-national”.

Amit Shah said RSS and BJP was not putting pressure on anyone to say, 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai'. Reuters

Amit Shah said RSS and BJP was not putting pressure on anyone to say, ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’. Reuters

In his over an hour interaction, the BJP President expressed confidence of that BJP will form a government in Assam but reacted cautiously about its prospects in other states, saying the party will work to increase its influence and play a role in government formation in these states.

Responding to a number of questions on the controversy surrounding the issue of chanting ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’, Shah said that the particular slogan was in vogue even before RSS and the BJP came into picture.

“99 percent of people agree with the slogan. This debate is irrelevant. Those who do not want to chant this should be asked what is their problem with this slogan. We will convince the one per cent people, who do not want to chant it,” Shah said but declined to answer how will the BJP go about it. “You leave it to us, how will we do it,” he said.

When asked whether MIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi, who said he would not raise the chant hailing ‘Mother India’ “even if a knife is put to my throat”, is a traitor, he said,” No one becomes a traitor due to just one thing” and added, “we will have to consider all other things and then come to a conclusion”.

The BJP chief also said there is no need to say Bharat Maata Ki Jai under pressure from RSS or BJP.

“This slogan is being chanted much before RSS and BJP came to power,” Shah said.

Asked about controversial comments made by party general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya that those who do not chant the slogan should be sent to Pakistan, the BJP chief said one should rather listen to what Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and he himself said.

To queries on the JNU row, he said the very fact that an event was organized on February 9 to commemorate Afzal Guru’s hanging is anti-national.

“There is no confusion in BJP about this. If some people decide to hold a programme to commemorate his death anniversry, this itself is anti-national,” he said.

Shah said he does not consider Rahul Gandhi‘s visit to JNU during the students’ protests as wrong but voiced reservations against the Congress vice president delivering a speech there accusing the Modi government of trying to suppress their freedom of expression.

“I am against this statement of Rahul Gandhi that some people want to suppress your freedom of expression,” he said.

Referring to alleged anti-India slogans raised at the JNU during the Afzal Guru event, he said, “If there are voices like these, then they must be suppressed.”

When asked about raising of anti-national slogans in places like Jammu and Kashmir, where the BJP had allied with PDP, he referred to the arrest of separatist leader Masarat Alam and said he would have never been arrested had BJP not been in power.

Alam was sent to jail even when PDP was in power in Jammu and Kashmir, Shah said when asked about PDP’s alleged soft corner for Afzal Guru.

When asked about a Supreme Court observation that merely raising anti-India slogan is not treason, he shot back, saying that the same court had once said that calling Congress activists goondas was also treason.

Congress was in alliance in Kerala with Muslim League, which was responsible for India’s partition, Shah said.

At this Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, who was seated among the audience rose and defended the alliance, saying the Muslim League in Kerala was different and was founded after the partition. Tharoor said its policies were not communal.

When told about the allegations that his government was crushing freedom of expression, Shah shot back asking “give me one example.”

Rejecting the charge, Shah said Prime Minister Narendra Modi was called “Hitler, Ravan, a mass murderer” but BJP did nothing against those who called him names. “We will tolerate criticism against people and government but not the country,” he said.

Taking a dig at Congress for its criticism of BJP over alleged intolerance, he said the UPA government had acted against internet giant Google for allegedly showing a cartoon against Congress president Sonia Gandhi “while I keep all cartoons against me on by website”.

Asked whether his relationship with the Gandhi family is not good, Shah said, “It is true that the relationship is not good. As far as I am concerned, the relationship is not good. I do not know about them.”

Shah said BJP was on course to achieve its target of a “Congress-free India” and cited the election results in some states as example.

Asked about BJP’s prospects in five states, Shah reacted cautiously. “Party will work to increase its influence and to play a role in government formation in these states.”

About Assam, he, however, expressed confidence that the BJP will form the government.

On Aligarh Muslim University’s minority status issue, he said that AMU is “not a minority” institution.

He said the BJP demands that it should implement reservation for SC/ST and OBCs in admission there.

About black money, he said the government was moving in the right direction but there was some delay.


UP govt denies permission for Owaisi’s programme in Lucknow after his remark on ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’

Lucknow: AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi’s programme in the city on was cancelled after he was denied permission by the district administration to hold a meeting on grounds of “law and order situation” in the state.

Asaduddin Owaisi has been facing criticism from parties for his remark on 'Bharat Mata ki Jai'. IBNLive

Asaduddin Owaisi has been facing criticism from parties for his remark on ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’. IBNLive

An angry AIMIM slammed the SP government’s decision to deny permission, saying it was “afraid” of Owaisi as the UP government had “done nothing” for the minorities.

Owaisi is currently facing fire for refusing to chant ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’, claiming that it is matter of personal choice and no one can be forced to do so.

Owaisi, who had to visit Lucknow today, was denied permission by the district administration to hold a meeting on grounds of “law and order situation” in the state, Additional District Magistrate (est) JS Dubey said in his order.

“He is, however, free to visit Lucknow,” the order stated.

During his proposed two-day visit to the state, Owaisi was to visit Azamgarh in connection with a programme also but that too has been cancelled.

“Owaisi’s programme has been cancelled after the district administration denied permission. As he cannot hold roadshow, address public meeting and cannot attend gathering of more than 30 persons, he has cancelled his visit,” AIMIM state president Shaukat Ali told PTI.

Alleging that the SP government was afraid of Owaisi, Ali said, “The present SP government did nothing for the minority community in its four-year regime. It is afraid of Owaisi, who is not only party president, but MP also.”

“They have imposed Emergency in the state. A party president and MP is being repeatedly stopped in UP. They are strangulating democracy as Muslim-Dalit are coming with AIMIM and also most backward are also joining the party. This has given reasons to SP to get worried,” he said.

Ali said AIMIM supporters would hold a demonstration here against the SP government’s attitude towards their party president.